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Brandeis Heller MPP 2019


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Hey all,

Got an acceptance for the MPP program at the Heller School, at Brandeis University. Anybody else either enrolled, completed, or considering it? Heard from one other person on here a while ago, but would be good to hear from others about what you think of the school and program. 

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1 hour ago, kayemeh said:

This is on my backup list because i'm local to the school &  they have a pretty far out final deadline. If you don't mind, can you post your stats?

Sure, no problem. For reference, I got a lot of $$$ from them too. 

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Undergrad: BA in Political Science and Spanish at decent but note elite (top-40) liberal arts college

GPA: 3.36

Quant background: Not much - took one introductory econ course as a sophomore, got a B-. Got an A in a 'Math and Politics' course that was in the Math department, but probably too light to hold much weight for this. Took an undergrad statistics course in the fall to help this category, got an A grade. 

GRE: V-163 / Q-163 / 5.5 Writing

Work Experience: About 4 years of work experience, nearly all nonprofit; 1 year in postgrad volunteer corps (social services), 1 year at a health policy and advocacy org, coming up on 2 years in philanthropy. 

LOR: Solid recs, probably not outstanding. One from professor who knows me, one from former boss in health policy, and a 3rd from personal contact who works in social policy, who I haven't worked with but who knows me very well on a personal level. 

SOP: Relatively strong I think, focusing on genuine and demonstrable commitment to public service, with a clear case as to how these programs would help me achieve my career goals

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In general, I think my good GRE scores and work experience balanced out a meh transcript. Other things that probably worked in my favor specifically for Brandeis:

  • I am particularly interested in domestic social policy, which is their bread & butter;
  • Social justice lens on my end, and they're big on that
  • Not sure how much it mattered, but I am also local to the Boston area, and my current workplace has good local name recognition

On another note, I notice that you have a deferred admission from American. I also applied there, so interested to here anything you might have to say about their program. 

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57 minutes ago, BK297 said:

On another note, I notice that you have a deferred admission from American. I also applied there, so interested to here anything you might have to say about their program. 

Their program is all at night which is good if you are planning to work or intern during the day. I was given no funding from them as they base all of their funding decisions based on undergraduate GPAs (last time I inquired, it was 3.5) even though I've been out of undergrad for 7 years and I had a 4.0 in the graduate degree I already have. I deferred for obvious reasons; to apply to other programs. 

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Congrats! I also recently was accepted and am interested in the Social Policy track.  It's a top choice for me, but ultimately even with a 70% scholarship, I'd be paying over $32,000 - and that's without living expenses in Boston... I'm struggling to decide if it's worth the debt or if I should consider a lesser school that offers full tuition/stipends; I'm an RPCV and am applying to a few Coverdell fellowships, but haven't heard back on funding yet. 

Are you awaiting to accept or are you definitely attending? 

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17 hours ago, jetpackgiraffe said:

Congrats! I also recently was accepted and am interested in the Social Policy track.  It's a top choice for me, but ultimately even with a 70% scholarship, I'd be paying over $32,000 - and that's without living expenses in Boston... I'm struggling to decide if it's worth the debt or if I should consider a lesser school that offers full tuition/stipends; I'm an RPCV and am applying to a few Coverdell fellowships, but haven't heard back on funding yet. 

Are you awaiting to accept or are you definitely attending? 

That decision of preferred school vs better funding is a tough one. I'm also interested in the Social Policy track, which seems to be Heller's real strength. I am waiting to receive other school decisions before making my own acceptance decision. Heller is the first decision of mine to come in, and will probably have more over the next several weeks, so will get a better idea of my options. I'm definitely planning to attend one of their admitted student days. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, I attended Heller. I haven't read all of your threads but if you got into Georgetown with decent funding, would go there instead.

In short, Heller is small with a facial commitment to "social justice". (Google "Ford Hall 2015". I hear that other than installing deans dedicated to diversity, the effects are fading, particularly among the students.)

Not the best public policy school and most people who are competitive for other programs choose Heller because of funding. The MPP students are generally razor sharp verbally but are not quants by any stretch of the imagination. Of the public policy students and faculty, the school is also pretty deficient re: understanding the actual workings of political systems and the Heller view remains a very ivory tower view despite appearances. The school touts the research institutes but the typical MPP class will be led by an ivory tower professor or instructor.

Heller classes run almost exclusively during the day, which, if we are being honest, maintains a very fake elitism. Programs that run during the evening attract people of color and working people (horror! although left unsaid due to our "commitment to social justice".)

You would have to be in commuting distance of Waltham, which is going through a bit of a housing crisis. Expect terrible housing options and housemates or a one-hour plus commute to school.

MPP at Heller is an easy graduate degree, especially for people with money. Go if they offer decent funding but I would pass otherwise. McCourt has more committed scholars IMO.

Let me know if you have specific questions.

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